The NBA summer of 2015 already had a blockbuster feel with LeBron James expected to hit free agency. Now there is word from a certain Zen Master that another leading man, one who plays the same position as notable free agent with the Washington Wizards, might delay his big payday plans until next year as well.
Phil Jackson, president of the New York Knicks, has discussed with Carmelo Anthony the idea of the All-Star forward postponing free agency and sticking with New York for the 2014-15 season.
"I told him it might be a good idea to hang in here and see what it's like for a year, and go out the next year," Jackson said, according to the Associated Press.
Either, Anthony will receive a fat check. The NBA's second-leading scorer this past season would receive $23.5 million this coming season should he stay with the Knicks for the final year of his contact. Should Anthony opt out - something the Baltimore has indicated he would do throughout this past season -, he would surely receive a lucrative long-term offer from several teams.
Assuming LeBron James sticks with the Miami Heat for another season, Anthony would be the top free agent not just among small forwards, a group that includes Trevor Ariza, but all players this offseason.
If it's all about winning games, Anthony's best bet might be to pack his bags. The Knicks didn't make the playoffs in the watered down Eastern Conference and won't have much leeway for roster upgrades. They also still need a coach, having missed on Steve Kerr, who agreed to join Golden State Warriors earlier this month.
As for Anthony's future, Jackson said, "I'm not losing sleep over it, but I'm definitely concerned about the idea of a guy going into free agency. It only takes one bidder out there that has the ability and can ruin your hopes and your chances.
"We will survive it. That's what I've said and we'll go forward. But this is a guy we recognize his talent and his skill is the kind of skill and talent that gets you through playoff games where things get sticky, grind out and basketball becomes a force game and suddenly you need to have a player who has the capabilities of scoring with someone hanging on them in a situation that's critical. "He's one of those players, one of the few players who can do that."
The Wizards, coming off their first playoff appearance since 2008, don't figure to be in the mix for Anthony should he choose free agency this summer. Never say never, of course, especially with John Wall and Bradley Beal's star factor on the rise. However, other likely teams could make more intriguing offers like the Lakers (join the Magic-Kareem-Shaq-Kobe lineage) and Bulls (join Derrick Rose to dethrone the Heat). In addition, there must be some question as to whether a ball-dominant player like Anthony makes for a good fit with Wall.
Anthony's decision will have a ripple effect in free agency. Should he stay with the Knicks, other small forward needy teams will look elsewhere for help. Ariza should be among the top five or so options this summer. Should Anthony leave the Knicks, the overall free agency mechanism could slow until learning where this super scoring will take his talents next.